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KLEM News Update Monday, Sept. 6, 2010

(LE MARS)--A state lawmaker from Le Mars has been designated a "Friend of Agriculture" by the Iowa Farm Bureau Political Action Committee (PAC).

Representative Chuck Soderberg received the designation after a county Farm Bureau committee evaluated candidates. The evaluation was considered by the nine-member Political Action Committee.

Soderberg represents portions of Plymouth and Sioux Counties and says it is an honor to receive the recognition from Farm Bureau.

Disc Golf to be expanded

(LE MARS)--A recreation option for Le Mars will be expanded.

Ben Sitzmann of the Le Mars Disc Golf Club says the course expansion will be at a new location.

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Sitzmann explains disc golf is like traditional golf and is played with discs.

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Sitzmann says the Le Mars Disc Golf Club has not raised all the money needed for the move.

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The group would like to finish the project in time to get some use this year. They're looking for volunteers for the project or new members. Donations may be made out to Le Mars Disc Golf Club and mailed to 921 First Street SE in Le Mars. Information is available by emailing

Museum trip is filling up

(LE MARS)--A bus trip to see bison is scheduled to leave the Plymouth County Historical Museum September 25th.

Museum administrator Judy Bowman says 55 people have registered for the "Bus to the Bison" fall bus trip and a second bus may be added, if necessary. Bowman asks anyone who'd like to be a part of the trip to contact the museum immediately.

The bus leaves at 9 a-m on the 25th to travel to the Westfield Community Center. Staff from the Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve will explain a planned round-up of bison and there will be tours of the Loess Hills Visitor Center.

The next stop will be the Corps of Discovery Welcome Center in Yankton and the historic Argo Hotel in Croften, Nebraska.

The bus stop at an elk and buffalo ranch in Niobrara, Nebraska is at two in the afternoon on the 25th of September. A buffalo burger feed will wrap up the day at the Swanson Hunting Lodge near Niobrara.

Narrators on the bus will be Don Poggensee of Ida Grove and Paul Williams of HInton. The busi will be returning about 9:30 p.m.

Community pride shines for newcomers

(LE MARS)--A commitment to caring for property is one of the strengths of Le Mars young professionals see when they move to the Le Mars area.

Micah Lang is President of Helping Young Professionals Energize the Region known as HYPER.

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The young professionals group organized in May of last year meets the third Thursday of each month. Information is available from Lang.

Contract for consultant on Council agenda

(LE MARS)--A consultant's work on improvements to the Le Mars Convention Center will be considered during the City Council meeting tomorrow (Tuesday).

Synergy Energy Engineering of rural Kingsley and principal Karl Seggerman were contracted with the city in June for engineering services for the project which was awarded grant funds from the state. The original contract was about 63-hundred dollars.

City administrator Scott Langel says the amount and cost of the work planned increased due to a more thorough review of the existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at the Convention Center.

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The existing system, with the exception of a chiller added about 10 years ago, dates to 1967 when the Convention Center was built as the Westmar College Commons.

Langel expects energy efficiency when the project is completed to mean lower costs for heating and cooling.

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A contract with Synergy Energy to be considered is for this fall through spring of next year. The cost is about 21-thousand dollars and covers engineering and project management

The City Council earlier this month approved a project of up to 250-thousand dollars. Langel says rebates from MidAmerican Energy, a state energy grant and the Westmar Urban Renewal District Tax Increment Financing (TIF)  revenue will pay for the project.

Teen center volunteers provide tutoring

(LE MARS)--A teen center in Le Mars brings volunteers and young people together for a tutoring program from September through April.

Roxanne Rahn is city life director for Siouxland Youth for Christ based at the Asylum Teen Center in downtown Le Mars.

Rahn says Siouxland Youth for Christ and Juvenile Court Services work together.

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About 30 adults volunteer for Youth for Christ in roles such as tutoring young people during the school year.

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Information about volunteering is available from Rahn or from area coordinator for Youth for Christ Jim Rahn, both at the Asylum in downtown Le Mars or by calling 546-8883.

Donations and fund raisers such as the one-thousand lugs of Colorado peach sales in August support the Siouxland Youth for Christ ministries for teens. Jim Rahn says some individuals donate monthly to the Asylum programs.

The KLEM Business Office is closed for Labor Day. Have a safe holiday.

Drake student death investigated

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Authorities are investigating the death of a Drake University student whose body was found off campus.

Drake University President David Maxwell says the body of senior Ryan T. Henderson was found around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. Henderson was from Lenexa, Kansas.

School officials did not give further details on Henderson's death on Sunday.

In an e-mail to faculty, staff and students, Maxwell calls the death a tragedy. He says there are no signs of foul play or any threat to students on campus.

The university is working with the Des Moines Police Department in the investigation.

Suspect dies of natural causes

MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) A 32-year-old man facing charges in connection with the death of his 4-year-old son has died.

Authorities say Andrew Holdgrafer appears to have died of natural causes.

Jackson County Sheriff's deputy Steve Schroeder says Holdgrafer died Saturday afternoon. Holdgrafer had been working in the garage of his Maquoketa home.

Holdgrafer had pleaded not guilty to child endangerment in the June 12 death of Collin Holdgrafer. A trial had been set for Sept. 13.

Holdgrafer's wife, 30-year-old Danielle Holdgrafer, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death. She allegedly held the child's head under water while bathing him.

She is being held at Jones County Jail.

Prosecutors allege Andrew Holdgrafer allowed his wife to abuse the boy and failed to take action.
Review: State spent nearly $30 million on overtime

Overtime high for some workers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) State government spent $29.5 million on overtime in the last fiscal year, and one worker averaged 51 hours of overtime a week.

A review by The Des Moines Register published in a copyright story Sunday found that overtime spending in the fiscal year ending June 30 dropped about 7.5 percent below the previous year.

Some say that amount of overtime remains worrisome, but Gov. Chet Culver says a drop in overtime at a time when the state has reduced staffing levels indicates state government is well managed.

The top overtime recipient was Chris Jensen, who works at Woodward Resources Center for people with mental disabilities. He had 2,673 hours of overtime, bringing his $42,000 salary to about $129,200.

Report: Iowa college graduates among most in debt

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa's college graduates have some of the highest student loan debt in the nation.

The latest report on the subject from the Project on Student Debt says 73 percent of Iowa graduates left college with some debt in 2008. Their average debt was nearly $28,200, the second-highest in the U.S.

Only graduates in the District of Columbia owed more, on average.

Among the state's public universities, Iowa State graduates tend to owe the most. Iowa State's class of 2008 owed an average of $30,700.

Iowa State senior Jonny Choate tells the Ames Tribune that he will owe more than $50,000 when he graduates next spring. He says he's worried about finding a job that will pay enough for him to pay off his debt.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Submit your news release, confidential news tip or news idea by email, by calling 712.546.4121 or 712.546.9672 fax.



KLEM News Sunday, Sept. 5, 2010

(LE MARS)-- Iowa State University Extension specialists are working with specialists from Cooperative Extension across the United State to create a site of research-based, unbiased information,

Organizers expect eXtension to be a site that promises to be a gateway to answering questions from parenting to investing and from entrepreneurship to livestock.

Plymouth County Extension Coordinator Carol Schneider says while eXtension has been in existence for a couple of years,the website is known to be under utilized by many Iowans. Schneider says eXtension is the most current, research-based information.

SBA help offered for disasters

(SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA)--Small, non-farm businesses in northwest Iowa are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans.

The disaster assistance for small businesses was announced for businesses with revenue losses from excessive rain, flooding, flash flooding, hail, high winds and tornadoes. The loss was from April 25th to July 18th.

Woodbury County is one of the primary counties where small businesses are eligible to apply for assistance.

Neighboring counties listed as eligible by the Small Business Administration include Plymouth, Cherokee, Ida, Union County, South Dakota and Dakota and Thurston in Nebraska.

Information is available from the Small Business Administration Customer Service Center by calling 800-659-2955.

Village honors staff for two decades of service

(SHELDON)--Six Village Northwest Unlimited employees are being honored for 20 years of service.

Village Unlimited serves those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.

Village Northwest Unlimited honored Community Skills manager Lisa Huff; Community Skills trainer Marlys Engelhardt; Residential Skills trainer Linda Adams; Production Supervisor Carolyn Meyer; Vocational Trainer Karma Funk and Custodial Assistant Craig Lindahl.

To date 97 Village staff members have reached the 20-year mark, with 78 still working at Village Northwest Unlimited.

 Mercy Alliance accepts proposals

(SIOUX CITY)--Proposals for grant funds are being accepted by the Mercy Alliance for Women's Health.

To qualify for a grant, a program must focus on women's health and well being.

Interested applicants should complete and return a grant application to the Mercy Alliance no later than October 11, 2010.

The Alliance's goals include increasing awareness of women's health issues and improving the well being of women in every phase of health: mental, physical, social, environmental ,and spiritual.

Researcher is Dordt Distinguished Alumnus

(SIOUX CENTER)--A graduate of Dordt College will present research on depression and the brain when he returns to campus this month.

Dr. Craig Stockmeier is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The 1977 graduate of Dordt College serves on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Medical Research Council.

Stockmeier has researched brain disorders and depression and will speak on neuroplasticity which refers to how the human brain changes in physical structure and functional organization as a result of experiences.

He'll speak September 16th at 7:30 p.m. in the Science and Technology Center lecture hall. The presentation in Sioux Center is open to the public.

Dr. Stockmeier is one of four Distinguished Alumni being honored on alumni weekend, September 17-18. Also being recognized are Reverend David De Ridder and Stan and Alice Weber.

Theologian to speak at NWC

(ORANGE CITY)--An award-winning theologian will speak at Northwestern College this month.

Dr. J. Todd Billings is associate professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary. He'll speak as part of the Ronald R. Nelson Scholars and Artists in Residence Program.

Billings won the Templeton award for his first book, "Calvin, Participation and the Gift: The Activity of Believers in Union with Christ."

Billings will speak on "Salvation as Adoption," Thursday, Sept. 16th at 3 p-m. in Van Peursem Hall and at chapel on September 17th at 10:05 a-m. Both are open to the public.

No injuries Marion bank robbery

MARION, Iowa (AP) Police are investigating a morning bank robbery in Marion.

Authorities say around 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, a white male about 30 to 40 years old entered a Wells Fargo bank and told the teller to give him money.

A news release from the Marion Police Department says no injuries were reported.

Authorities say the man was wearing a tan jacket, dark shirt, tan hat and blue jeans.

No weapon was displayed.

Police are asking anyone with information to call the Marion Police Department.

The FBI is also investigating.

Police: Bicyclist dead following Waterloo accident

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Authorities in Waterloo are investigating a vehicle accident that left a bicyclist dead.

Police say the accident happened around 10:45 p.m. on Friday in Waterloo. A vehicle struck a person riding a bike.

The bicyclist was pronounced dead on the scene.

The vehicle's driver wasn't injured.

Police did not give further details, including the victim's name.

Dubuque police say fake $100 bills circulating

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) Authorities in Dubuque say be on the lookout for counterfeit bills.

Police say local merchants and residents have recently reported fake $100 in circulation in Dubuque.

Authorities say take extra precautions.

For one, if you accept cash, check for verification features like the presidential hologram, to protect yourself.

The U.S. Secret Service says if you receive a counterfeit, don't return it. Instead, they say take down details of the person who gave it and call the authorities.

Who's often dreading college sendoff more? Parents

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) It's always hard for parents when their children leave for college.

But some experts and parents say letting go has become more difficult than it was in decades past.

Marshall Duke is a psychology professor at Emory University in Atlanta. She's been talking to parents about cutting the cord for years and says she's noticed more parents struggling.

For one, she says parents are more connected than ever, whether its through social networking or texting.

But in the end, the message from universities and colleges is the same: Parents, please go home.

The parents of Ariana Kramer, who is starting at the University of Iowa, say they get the message.

Her mother Robin Kramer says she'll always worry about her daughter, even though her daughter will cope.

Construction group likely to seek higher gas tax

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Highway construction advocates say they likely will press the Iowa Legislature to raise the state's gasoline tax after more than two decades without an increase.

Scott Newhard, executive vice president of the Associated General Contractors of Iowa, says his group probably will seek an increase in the gas tax, last raised in 1989. The group won't make a final decision until after the November elections.

Iowa's gasoline tax now averages 20 cents per gallon, with tax breaks factored in for ethanol-blended fuels.

Lawmakers last year considered a gas tax increase, but Gov. Chet Culver ended the discussion by promising to veto such a move.

The construction group also plans to join an effort to lobby Congress to approve more money for transportation spending.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Submit your news release, confidential news tip or news idea by email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , by calling 712.546.4121 or 712.546.9672 fax.


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